How football changed Kaizer Chiefs defender Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya's life
Football changed Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya's life and the Kaizer Chiefs defender says he is thankful for the numerous blessings that have come his way.
The 22-year-old Ntiya-Ntiya said he never thought that his life would become what it is today when he was growing up as a sheepherder in the farms in the Eastern Cape.
"I was born in the Eastern Cape in the area called Bizana‚" he told Amakhosi’s website.
"As far as I remember I did everything that you can think of that a village boy can do‚ Ukulusa izinkomo nokulima [cow herding and tilling the fields].
"I stayed with my great grandmother. When she died‚ I moved to Durban and stayed in Umlazi township. My grandmother and mother were working in Durban."
Promoted by then AmaKhosi coach Steve Komphela‚ the left-back went on to become an important part of the team and became a regular starter under current boss Ernst Middendorp.
"But it took me by a big surprise when I signed for the first team‚" he said.
Ntiya-Ntiya said he is happy to be reaping the rewards of his hard work on the field and improving the situation for his family back at home is the fuel that drives him to go the extra mile.
"Everything changed. For starters‚ I was able to provide for my family back home‚ " he said.
"And that is a great feeling. My grandmother was able to resign from work because I was able to provide for her needs.
"There are many things that changed for the better. I am very grateful to Kaizer Chiefs."
The business management student enjoys spending time for family and friends during the off-season.
"Most of my friends are studying in different courses. We spend most of the time sharing our different educational experiences‚" he said
The hardworking defender said young people should invest in their education.
"I think there is only one way out for the youth to advance in life‚" Ntiya-Ntiya said.
"The only opportunity that is real is to study and be qualified. The youth must study as much as possible.
“With education the youth will be able to avoid the many ills that we witness happening everyday in society.”